Elon Musk thrives for freedom of speech

Writer Samira Joineau

After becoming the largest Twitter shareholder, by buying 9.2% stake, Elon Musk wants more of the company. SpaceX and Tesla CEO asserted that he strives after owning 100% of the platform and removing it from the Wall Street stock exchange. On the 25th, he overcame the obstacles to become Twitter’s owner.

On April 13th, Elon Musk shared a tweet stating he made an offer to Bret Taylor, Twitter chairman, claiming his willingness to buy the Twitter company. The letter reads: “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy.

However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.

As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced. My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.

Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.”

The letter was delivered to the US Securities and Exchange Commission the same day. Musk’s offer would increase the value of Twitter up to $43.4 billion.

In a press release disclosed on April 14th, Twitter Inc. has confirmed the receipt of Musk’s offer and states that the “Twitter Board of Directors will carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and all Twitter stakeholders”.

This was not promised since the Twitter Board of Directors tried to protect the platform by adopting the clause known under the name of “poison pill”, in the financial field. Twitter planned to use this resort so as to sell off its stakes to other shareholders. This plan was to be set off if Musk’s shares in Twitter were to exceed 15% without the Board’s agreement.

In spite of this threat, Twitter announced on April 25th that Elon Musk’s offer was accepted. This decision came out after negotiations between the Twitter Board of Directors and Musk, which occurred yesterday. This means that the billionaire ended up winning his bid and is officially the owner of the Twitter platform.

What does this mean for the future of the social media platform?

Elon Musk’s intentions are to transform Twitter into a platform which extols users’ free speech, stating in a tweet published the day before that it is “the bedrock of a functioning democracy”. This clearly implies that every user is meant to be free to publish their thoughts. In another tweet, he declared “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means”.

Musk’s ambitions regarding freedom of speech could be critical in terms of hatred and falsehood spread. This also suggests that banned users (such as Donald Trump) could be restarted and use Twitter again. This could pave the way to misinformation threats on the platform.

On the other side, the billionaire also mentioned other changes, such as “making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans”. Will this be enough to ensure security on the platform?

Alongside, Musk plans on enhancing the use of cryptocurrencies on the platform so as to pay Twitter’s premium subscription Blue or to boost NFTs use regarding pictures.

These upcoming changes, especially regarding free speech, might oppose the latest European Commission’s Digital Services Act (DSA) published earlier this week.